Law lords reject final appeal from Jill Dando's murderer

Robert Verkaik
Tuesday 17 December 2002 01:00

The an convicted of murdering television presenter Jill Dando on the doorstep of her home lost his chance yesterday of a final appeal in this country.

The House of Lords rejected Barry George's application for a full hearing into his conviction and life sentence for shooting 37-year-old Ms Dando in Fulham, south-west London, in April 1999. In July, the Court of Appeal upheld the murder conviction and George's lawyers appealed to the House of Lords. But the law lords said they would not hear the appeal. They did not give reasons.

George's appeal centred on identification. His lawyers said his trial should have been halted because some of the key evidence on identification was inadmissible.

The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Woolf, and two other judges said that looking at the evidence as a whole they had "no doubt as to the correctness of the conviction". The Court of Appeal also found there was other evidence which supported the case for the prosecution. This included included a particle of firearm discharge residue on George's coat, lies he had told and his obsession with Ms Dando and other female television presenters.

His lawyers had tried to prove that George's coat was contaminated by police. They argued there was no fingerprint, footprint or DNA evidence proving he was the killer. They also raised objections to the conduct of the trial, including the way the jury reached its decisions.

George's lawyers are now understood to be considering an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

After he lost his appeal in July, George issued a statement, dictated from his cell. He said: "I did not murder Jill Dando and I believe that one day the truth will come out, and I only hope and pray that this happens in my lifetime."